Chemical Engineer

Chemical Engineers will aim to get the best results at the least cost and with as little damage to the environment as possible. Chemical Engineers will also work on issues surrounding and solutions for energy conservation and environmental pollution.

Typical Duties

  • Look for new and better processes and materials, or improve or find new uses for those already in existence
  • Design and the development of chemical processes and equipment
  • Conduct research into the development or improvement of chemical engineering processes, reactions and materials
  • Prepare reports, feasibility studies and do cost analyses
  • May be involved in a supervisory position where responsible for managing technicians, technologists and other engineers or mining staff
  • Evaluate chemical process technology and equipment and production
  • Oversee the construction, modification, operation and maintenance of mines and plants
  • Establish and conduct quality control programs, operating procedures and control strategies to ensure consistency and adherence to standards for raw materials, products and waste products or emissions
  • Prepare contract documents and evaluate tenders
  • Some Chemical Engineers work in a more administrative office based role such as in the development of guidelines and specifications for the handling of dangerous chemicals and environmental protection
  • Design and test chemical processing
  • Environmental management, monitoring and control of pollution and investigating ways to turn wastes into valuable materials that can be re-used

Working Conditions

  • Chemical Engineers work in places such as laboratories, processing plants, mines or engineering design offices
  • If in mining they may be based at times in corporate offices or on site on the mines. Chemical Engineers will generally spend a fair amount of time in the field
  • When working in mining, they can typically find themselves working onsite on mines, possibly in remote locations where they may be exposed to extreme weather conditions
  • Chemical Engineers will often work in a team environment with other professionals, and will often be in a position where they will be supervising staff
  • In mining they can expect to work closely with other engineers such as mining engineers, environmental engineers

Educational Requirements

  • It would be essential for a Chemical Engineer to have a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. This is sometimes also known as Bimolecular Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering students will generally also be required to gain some practical, hands on experience, where they will earn college credit for structured job experience
  • A postgraduate qualification can be beneficial, as can relevant manufacturing or process industry work experience
  • Opportunities to gain experience and an insight into the profession are provided by many employers via vacation work, sponsorship and industrial placements

Personal Attributes

  • Enjoy working with math, physics and chemistry
  • Must enjoy working a laboratory type environment
  • Because they work with chemicals which can be dangerous, they need to have an elevated sense of respect for safety procedures and regulations
  • Be able to embrace new techniques and technologies
  • Be able to work under pressure
  • Have a good work ethic and be goal oriented


  • Chemical Engineers salaries vary tremendously depending on what region they are working in, what industry and in terms of how much experience they have
  • Other factors that will influence the salary of a Chemical Engineer include what company they work for, whether the position is FIFO, and whether they are in a contract or permanent position


  • Find out more about salaries here.